|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Quebec||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 18, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Scattered irregularly throughout the game are combat sections that force you to face off against a handful of enemies, usually no more than two at a time. The combat gameplay is functional, yet far from deep. You can attack, block, dodge, and throw your enemy, but there are no complex combos or tactics that prevent the fighting sections from feeling like anything other than filler. Nearly every fight can be completed by throwing your enemies, especially if you toss two foes into one another. There are also a handful of boss fights throughout the game, and while they're a little more complex than the standard combat encounters, they're still far from deep. In classic old-school game design tradition, you must look for the pattern, figure out the trick, and pull it off a few times to defeat your enemy.
Upon completing each stage, you're shown a screen that breaks down how you did, based on how long it took you, how many recalls (deaths) you suffered, and how much "mana" you collected over the course of the stage. The better you did, the more crystals you earn, which you use to unlock bonus material like concept art, cutscenes, and the like. The mana orbs are scattered around the levels like coins, and not only do they earn you crystals, they can be traded in for upgrades like an expanded health bar and stronger attacks in combat. As combat is such a minimal part of the game, I spent most of my mana on life bar upgrades, which keeps you from being bounced back to the last save point so often.
The Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is a surprisingly lengthy adventure for a portable game and starts off as a fun, engaging, old-school platformer. However, the difficulty increases constantly throughout the game, and in the second half of the quest, the game starts to lose some of its retro charm.
Still, if you have fond memories of the original Prince of Persia games, you'll probably enjoy the PSP version of the latest game.It's far from flawless, but its unique blend of classic platforming action with modern touches like time control powers, checkpoints, collectibles, and 3D graphics make a solid entry in the PSP's somewhat lackluster game library. Oftentimes the PSP version of a major game is a completely worthless, tossed off affair; The Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands isn't phenomenal, but at least it breaks that unfortunate trend.
J. Matthew Zoss
CCC Freelance Writer